Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Richard Turpin, executed for horse stealing.
We are very excited here at London Peculiar this week as we finally have all 6 volumes of the Newgate Calender from the early 1800's.
Needless to say there is a lot to read, but I went striaght to the Richard Turpin page and I must say learnt quite a lot.
His early career was house breaking.He and his friends would knock on the door of someone they knew had something of worth to steal and , whilst two held or distracted the owners, the other would raid the house.
On one occassion, Turpin put a lady onto the fire to 'compel her to reveal her treasure'! Nasty.
The gang raided and ransacked many houses until finally they were reported and a reward of £50 was placed on Turpins head, the King guaranteed freedom to any gang member willing to reveal his whereabouts.
No one came forward and Turpin and gang continued robbing and terrorising people in their homes.
The reward was raised to £100 for his capture and at this point, around 1737 he became a highway robber.
He was becoming more notorious and more wanted than ever.
In May 1737 he committed murder for the first time (the second he actually killed his companion,who after being shot by Turpin cried out..'Dick you have killd me'!).shooting dead one of the keepers of Epping Forest.
Again the reward was raised to £200, and a promise of a pardon to any accomplicies that shall discover him!
There were many attempts to take Mr Turpin into custody, but they all failed.
Turpin had now fled to Suffolk where he changed his name to John Palmer and stole some horses.
The magistrates caught up with 'John Palmer' and imprisoned him in York for sheep and horse stealing.
Turpin/Palmer, after four months being imprisoned , wrote a letter to his brother asking for help..Unfortunatly the letter had no stamp and Turpins brother would not pay the postage, so, it was returned to the post office, and was seen by a once school master of Turpin...who, although the letter was signed 'John Palmer' recognised the hand immediatly as Richard Turpins...! Oh dear.
Once word got out that Turpin was inprisoned in York, people flocked from all parts to take a view.
On April 10th 1739, Dick Turpin was executed in York for horse stealing, although he had commited two murders and many many robberies as well!
Poor Dick Turpin...and poor old woman on the fire too!
Bye for now